3.2 Feelings about being a ‘carer’
Carol, who looks after her mother and her aunt, feels the need to distinguish between being ‘a relative’ and ‘a carer’. She feels that health and social care practitioners don't always recognise who the carer is.
Julie, caring for her 11-year-old son who has severe learning and physical disabilities, complains about ‘the disbelief’ about the extent of help she provides.
Les and his wife, whose son has severe mental health problems, noticed that they tended to be ignored at meetings with the psychiatrist at the hospital. As he puts it: ‘There's so much more psychiatrists could learn from talking in the early days to the carers’.
Jonathan Smith and Jane Weston see their roles as enabling people to recognise what they do as carers, and to get them the help they need. They do this by providing support and information about welfare services and rights. Jonathan points out how people often do not recognise that they are carers. This is partly because they do other things in their lives, and partly because carers aren't just one type of person. A carer ‘can be anyone’.